I’m writing to share some thoughts on United Philanthropy Forum’s excellent 2020 Forum Virtual Conference, which brings together Philanthropy Serving Organizations (PSOs) to share examples of how we’re working to support, strengthen, and lead the grantmaking community.
I’m sending this letter now to rally the arts funding community during this difficult moment to not only react to crisis but also to be sure we treat this as moment to create our desired future. I write this letter as a follow up to the Grantmakers in the Arts webinar, COVID19 and the arts ecosystem and a pre-amble to ongoing programming throughout the year that will highlight examples of inspiring work that is happening now and of the future we can all create together.
As we begin a year in which a federal election will take place, we at Grantmakers in the Arts would like to encourage all of us to advocate for our field, our artists, our communities, this year and every year.
Advocacy is the act of informing the public and government officials – including elected legislators, appointed executives, and hired government workers – about an issue. This can include educating public officials about the beneficial effects public support for the arts has had on the constituents and the communities they represent.
Cultural organizations are increasingly being called upon to refuse funding that their critics regard as ethically questionable, such as private prisons, tear gas, opioids, environmentally damaging sources of energy, etc.
Humans inherently process change as loss, and there is a foundation for this. Change is loss of the past. And, change imposed upon us from without is especially painful, as so many in the cultural world are learning. The only way out of this pain is to be the leaders of it.
Grantmakers in the Arts (GIA) has just completed our second Racial Equity in Arts Funding workshop - this one for the greater Seattle grantmaking community with over 30 funders.
A version of this essay will be published in the June/July edition of the Grantmakers in Health (GIH) bulletin, aligning with this year’s GIH annual conference on June 12-14, at which GIA will present the work of the Center for Arts in Medicine at University of Florida, The Kresge Foundation, and artist collective Harriet’s Apothecary.
Grantmakers in the Arts is delighted to share this year’s “Foundation Grants to Arts and Culture, 2016.” In their analysis, Candid (formerly Foundation Center) has included both grants made by foundations directly supporting culture through arts portfolios and grants in support of culture through Grantmakers in the Arts is grateful to amplify the work of other grantmakers – in such fields as education, community and economic development, climate justice, and information and communications – who also see the value of arts and culture as part of their work. This arts funding at the intersection approach is one which GIA recognizes culture as essential to all social change within the larger social sector.
Grantmakers in the Arts (GIA) treated this year’s annual conference in Oakland as an experiment in living our values in real time. GIA has historically held the conference in a hotel, negotiating each venue contract approximately two years in advance of the event. This practice was designed for the convenience of our registrants and for its affordability.
On Tuesday, August 21, Grantmakers in the Arts will host “Real and Not Real: The history of racialization in the United States,” a webinar by Race Forward, which will serve as foundational for future GIA Racial Equity in Arts Philanthropy workshops.
At the EDGE Funders Alliance 2018 conference, I had the experience of sitting next to a stranger at lunch and introducing myself as President & CEO of Grantmakers in the Arts. He asked me, “Why don’t funders fund just plain art anymore?” When I asked what he meant, he responded with a story.